Anniversaries provide us a fitting opportunity to step back and be grateful for people who have impacted our lives in a meaningful way. For many of us, being invited into the lives of our scholars is truly a treasured gift.
The little program that was once a house off a dirt road where office staff worked out of a closet-office at Regis Jesuit High School has grown to include two homes serving both girls and boys. Our non-residential academic program which meets at Escuela de Guadalupe has been studied and replicated in other cities. The commitment of many generous people allows our scholars to mark the milestones and the mundane during time at Boys Hope Girls Hope. The past twenty years has certainly been filled with its blessings, challenges, moments of grace and wonder and a fair share of heartbreaks.
Years of wear and tear mean that the drywall at the Boys’ House has been patched (and re-patched!). Carpets, water heaters, shingles and furnaces have been replaced. Staff and scholars move on. The important things, however, have not changed: our scholars still sit-down to evening meals and attend college preparatory schools; we continue to rely on strong group of committed tutors and mentors to keep scholars motivated; our structured time for prayer and reflection is a regular part of the routine; we stress cultivating a sense of gratitude for the gifts of education and of one another. Providing our scholars with a safe, nurturing environment to achieve their potential has remained at the heart of what we do together.
This twenty-year anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate. Please consider joining us in recognizing our scholars and those people who deserve our special thanks for their commitment at a party on March 20, 2013 at the Curtis Ballroom, Comedy Works at Landmark.
During the celebration we will honor Fr. Paul Sheridan, S.J., the founding visionary of Boys Hope Girls Hope. Fr. Sheridan’s proven model of success was brought to Colorado thanks to the substantial support of Don McFall. Don’s generosity, expertise and contacts paved the way for Boys Hope to break ground and accept our original eight scholars. During these early years, Fr. Ralph Houlihan, S.J., was able to provide scholarships and academic support as the “new” Regis Jesuit High School was being constructed in Aurora. Also during this time Jon Stonbraker (Dill, Dill, Carr, Stonbraker and Hutchings) kept us on the right side of the law, and continues to offer his legal services pro-bono. Steve Tierney has served as board chair, program committee chair, mentor to our scholars, and perhaps most importantly Steve is a tireless supporter for our scholars and the program. Dr. Jo Swanson has been an invaluable resource by serving as program director, program committee chair, a mentor, school psychologist and candidate assessor. Jo’s professional and personal commitment has assured that our scholars have the best possible emotional support. Kent Swanson served as board chair, and his business expertise and generous spirit prepared the organization for the Girls Hope expansion. RaNae Carpenter and her husband Chris have made Girls Hope possible by providing for the residential and scholarship needs of our girls. Dr. Chris Carpenter is an orthodontist and provides care for our scholars; we have yet to see a bill. From the beginning, our scholars have benefited from the extraordinary support of Regis Jesuit High School which continues to provide scholarships for quality college preparatory education for our scholars, instilling in them the all-important value of become persons for and with others.
There is much to celebrate, indeed. Our shared commitment has made possible graduations, birthday parties, Thanksgiving prayer services, recommitment ceremonies, and summer college road trips. Together we have supported scholars through countless freshman football games, prom tuxedo rentals, algebra tests and most happily—the purchase of mahogany frames for university diplomas.
Reflecting on this twentieth anniversary and those that have made it possible, I cannot help but be aware of how our lives have been enriched by the presence of these courageous young people. And it is for them that we are most grateful.
Debbie O’Dwyer, 20th Anniversary Chair